Friday, October 5, 2012

Marketing Strategies Are Only Part of the Marketing Plan

In my marketing experiences, I find it scary how often businesses don't have a formalized written Business Plan, much less a formalized Marketing Plan. I talk to a lot of business owners, particularly small, that say they have it all up in their head. But how can a business be effective without a standard to measure themselves by?

As part of a formalized, written Business Plan, the Marketing Plan (a supplemental, formalized written document supporting your Business Plan) sets the precedence for the year's marketing goals.  At a bare minimal, a solid Marketing Plan will include objectives and strategies to measure the results.    Assessing and evaluating the results for financial and inter-departmental alignment is also important to revamping a Marketing Plan, but these considerations are completely dependent on a business' planned aims and Marketing Strategies.


Like other small and independent business owners, I make lots of mental notes in addition to more carefully, thought out marketing strategizing. In today's evolving marketing world, however, this is not enough.  It is necessary for businesses to review and manage their marketing strategies, objectives, and action items daily or even multiple times a day.  

A basic outline of meaningful Marketing Strategies should at least include:
  • having a predetermined tracking & measurement system in place
  • analytical resources to measure audience engagements & marketing trends
  • a system of interpreting these trends and engagement measures for re-alignment and continuous improvement
With these and any other effective Marketing Strategy considered, revamping the overall Marketing Plan can be part of revamping the Business Plan which at least needs to be annually.  If a business has the personnel to make Marketing Plan adjustment more often, there are ideal times. These vary by market and industry, but might include:
  • Nationally recognized holiday, election, & vacation seasons
  • Changes in principal personnel and key decision makers
  • Significant market and industry changes that might have major financial or legal ramifications
Changes to the Marketing Plan in these situations need to be assessed and revamped both before and after these adjustment periods.  More importantly, these changes assume that a business, business owner, or key decision makers are in touch with their market and industry enough to see the need for change ahead of time and act accordingly.

Managing Marketing Strategies is just as critical as developing a Marketing Plan.  However, it is important to understand the difference between having effective Marketing Strategies and having those strategies support the Marketing Plan.  Understanding this distinction will help a business make timely & effective determinations that impact the overall Business Plan.

Marketing Strategies Are Only Part of the Marketing Plan - Market Integrations